There are many Middle Eastern and Indian versions of this sticky, spiced preserve called spoon sweets, and it has multiple uses. Use it to accompany a cheese board or with cakes, tarts and steamed puddings. Serve with vanilla ice cream or dollop on top of sweet rice pudding as we have.
4 medium, firm but ripe pears (I used Beurre Bosc)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
½ cup water
1¼ cups caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup raisins
zest 2 lemons
½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
juice 2 lemons
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Peel, core and slice the pears 1 cm thick. Cut the whole orange, including the skin, into 1 cm pieces. Put the water and caster sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the pears, orange, ginger, cinnamon stick, cardamom, raisins and the lemon zest and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer the preserves for 1 hour, stirring often towards the end of cooking. A simmer mat is ideal for long gentle cooking. Add the walnuts and cook for another 15 minutes then stir in the lemon juice and sesame seeds. Spoon into jars and when cool, cover and store in the refrigerator. Makes about 3 cups
Cook’s tip: The preserves can be warmed if serving with a dessert such as a steamed or rice pudding.